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Top ten WRC drivers: 5th and 6th.

After asking you to vote for your leading drivers from the World Rally Championship season, the time has come to start the count-down to the driver you voted the top star of 2008.

Over the next five days, we will be revealing the top ten in reverse order, with two drivers being revealed each day.

After asking you to give each driver a mark out of ten for their performances during the season, each drivers' average score was calculated to decide the winner.

So today, fifth and sixth places…

WRC Driver of the Year - Sixth place:

Name: Per-Gunnar Andersson
Team: Suzuki World Rally Team
Car: Suzuki SX4 WRC
Events 15
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Stage wins: 0
Championship points: 12 points
Championship position: 12th.

Results: 8th on the Monte, retired in Sweden (mechanical), retired in Mexico (mechanical), 24th in Argentina under SupeRally (mechanical), retired in Jordan (went off the road), 9th in Sardinia, 11th in Greece, retired in Turkey (electrical), retired in Finland (went off the road), 15th in Germany, 6th in NZ, 32nd in Spain (under SupeRally after day 1 off), 17th in France (under SupeRally after day 2 off), 5th in Japan, 5th in Wales.

Having won the Junior World Rally Championship twice in 2004 and 2007, Per-Gunnar Andersson earn the chance to step up to the 'senior' level in 2008. He started strongly too, by scoring the first ever point for the Suzuki WRT in Monte Carlo when he brought his SX4 WRC car home in eighth place.

Reliability woes held him back after that and it wasn't until New Zealand that he scored drivers' points again. But a strong end to the season - with two fifth places in Japan and Wales - showed he more than deserved a go in a World Rally Car.

It is just a shame then that he might not be able to build on that in 2009, after Suzuki canned its WRC programme.

WRC Driver of the Year - Fifth place:

Name: Francois Duval
Team: Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team / BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT
Car: Ford Focus RS WRC
Events 7
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 2
Stage wins: 7
Championship points: 25 points
Championship position: 7th

Results: 4th on the Monte, 3rd in Germany, retired in NZ, 4th in Spain (under BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT banner), 3rd in France (under BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT banner), crashed out in Japan (co-driver, Patrick Pivato injured), 6th in Wales.

Francois Duval only did seven events in 2008, but he still managed to impress and notably finished third in Germany and France.

He was promoted to the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT line-up for the asphalt double header in Catalunya and Corsica and subbed for the injured Gigi Galli in New Zealand, Japan and GB.

He suffered a big off in 'The Land of the Rising Sun', which left his co-driver, Patrick Pivato seriously injured, but he returned for Wales Rally GB and with Denis Giraudet calling the notes, finished sixth to end the year with 25 points on the board.

Seventh in the drivers' was a very credible result then, especially given he did last than half of the events.

Tomorrow: Who did you vote third and fourth?


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Francois Duval (BEL), Ford Focus RS WRC07, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Monza, [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Podium 1st Australian - Molly Taylor (AUS) Bill Hayes (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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Dr Drew - Unregistered

December 22, 2008 3:24 PM

Francois'' performance is more meritorious because he had to surrender a second place to Hirvonen under team orders, and when he was clearly outclassing the Finn. Remember too that Duval was driving the old Focus on five of his seven rallies. Next to Loeb, I reckon Francois has the most natural ability of the current lot of WRC drivers.



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